Posts Tagged ‘children’

The over-sized black dog is curled up in the corner, gently snoring on her fluffy, white bed while a black calico cat rests on the tattered quilt at the feet of the woman of the house. The gentle squeak of a computer chair is heard from the living room, the tap, tap of the ever busy keyboard, the hum of a computer monitor, and the soft singing of a young woman occupy the air. Another cat lets out its meek meow as it beckons for attention, hoping to find either its mother or the young woman at the computer. The turtle tank gurgles from a distant bedroom, an airplane rumbles by, and another dog barks in the distance.

These are the sounds of the night. Occasionally the house will creak or even pop causing momentary tension amongst the ladies, but for the most part, the night is serene. The blackness outside is kept at bay by the iridescent lights from within. Soon, it will change.

The young lady will grow weary and turn off the computer. Enervation will overcome the older woman. Lights will turn to darkness with a mere flip of a switch. As slumber overtakes the house guests, the noises will obliterate. It is at this time that the cats will remember that they are nocturnal creatures and with an abrupt burst through the house, they will leap onto the fireplace to begin their aeronautics. Mid-flight, an ornament will be procured so that fowl play may begin.

The felines run through the house, batting the ornament to and fro. This is easily accomplished on the wooden floors, as is sliding into walls and each other. With a moan, the woman wakes up and listens. She knows what awaits the night, but is optimistic that merely being awake will settle the cats. Of course, this is only false hope and she will reluctantly drag herself out of bed, a hunter on the prowl. The cats, suddenly feigning innocence, flop onto the floor in a humble position hoping the woman will pet them and head back to bed. She does stoop down to give each cat a rub and a gentle chide, but her mission is not diverted. She will find that ornament.

To the woman’s dismay, the small gray cat has placed herself upon the ornament in every attempt to hide her treasure. With a slight laugh, the woman reaches out and takes the ornament. She glances at the tree, the naked bottom half, stripped of its ornaments and Christmas joy, and knows placing the ornament back on the tree is senseless. She places it in a box instead. Inside that box are the other ornaments gathered throughout the season, treasures of the felines. With this, she turns off the hall light and heads back to her room, stopping to admire the tree once more. She notices that it is leaning to the right, slightly more than the day before, and slightly more than the day before that. If the tree isn’t straightened soon, it will fall over. Knowing this, the woman walks away with a smirk for these are the memories of the 2009 Christmas season.


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It’s been a tough year, a year of survival and many, many challenges. In my years of teaching, this has hands down been the worst year ever. I could go on and on about what made the year so tough, but it is a long list and not easily stated. I’ve had my eyes on the end all year. It has been my focus. Survival and the ability to make it to the end. 

I don’t know how to put these things into words because it is such a hodgepodge of feelings and thoughts. You see, having had to focus on the end all year, I thought for sure I would be happy once the end finally arrived. Friday was the end to my year with my students and it isn’t a happy feeling after all. I am happy that we (my teaching team, the students and I) all made it, but I am not happy to say goodbye to these kids. I will walk into my empty classroom on Monday to finish packing up for summer and posting grades. It will hurt my heart to walk into that empty classroom. The desks are stacked, the student’s self portraits are down, art work and student papers have been removed. The classroom is practically bare and ready for the next group of kids. 

Recently I looked out my classroom door and noticed that there were about 30 5th graders hanging around talking. I opened the door and loudly and sternly shouted, “GO HOME!!!” A look of horror fell upon the face of nearby adults and siblings were startled to hear a teacher yell like that. The 5th graders, however, had a completely different reaction. They turned, saw it was me, and immediately came to me for a group hug and casual conversation. They knew that I was not serious and laughed at me stating, “Oh Ms. H.” It was funny to watch this unfold. I knew that the kids would know right away that I was kidding. I had not anticipated the reaction of others. I knew that they would wonder about it, but I didn’t expect their looks of horror, followed with a quizzical glimpse and then smile upon smile. 

I taught about ten of my 33 students last year as well. It is especially tough to say goodbye to those kids. We have deep bonds and most of them I am somewhat involved with their family as well. This year, I have helped students work through social issues, I have been a shoulder to cry on for several students who found their parents divorcing, other students had parents in and out of the hospital, a mother had cancer and I was a part of the diagnosis, the chemo and the radiation treatments. The student brought in the device that was inserted into her mother for chemo treatments. I was there (in the student and family’s life) when Mom was diagnosed and I was involved when Mom had her very last treatment over a year later. I was a part of the life of a child that walked out of the courthouse with only the clothes on his back into his mother’s care. The school was able to provide clothing until Mom was able to get all that she needed. I went to baseball games, softball games and birthday parties. I listened as they talked to me about their latest crushes and shared who their current boyfriend or girlfriend was. I watched the physical transformation from child to young adult. I listened to children cry that they don’t like their Mom or their Dad and why they felt that way. I received hug after hug after hug. A known gang member began to call me Mommy and continued to do so all year long. He was insistent that I was his “other mother.” Together, we laughed and we cried and today I realize just how very attached I am to these students. They are amazing kids and I love them. I hate to see them go. 

I laugh with my kids, I share with my kids and I cry with my kids. They are so deeply rooted into my life. I couldn’t help but tell a few of them that I love them as we said our final goodbyes. I don’t usually let myself express love to my kids. Occasionally I find myself giving a kiss on the forehead, but this year, I knew that I had to tell some of them that I love them. I knew that the craziness of their home-life and the raging hormones of a pre-teen left some of them wondering if anyone loved them and I could not let them leave without hearing me say that yes, I really do love you. 

How can I not be sad to see these kids go? Kids that know that when I “yell” I am only playing. Kids that know they can get a hug from me at anytime, kids that like to stand around and talk to me about nothing. Kids that have opened up and let me fully and completely into their lives. Goodbye guys. I WILL miss you!

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Sometimes things in life flow and one breathes a sigh of relief while stating, “It was a good day.”

The day itself was uneventful except for the fact that the school year is winding down. Yay for that. I will only be taking two classes this summer, so I will actually have a break and hopefully enjoy the summer, finish the painting and get that new carpet installed. 

Tonight, my handy man, Kevin, came out to install the new garbage disposal. He was pleased with my replacement purchase, but suggested that he tinker with the old disposal first so that maybe, just maybe I could take the new one back and save myself some money. Indeed he was able to repair the old disposal. Yay! Total cost? $0. This is the reason that I call him for everything. His work is good and his prices are ALWAYS fair. He piped my home for my new gas stove, put in a water line for my new refrigerator which also had ice and water, installed a micro-hood (a hood for the stove which was also a microwave), fixed the dishwasher, replaced some piping under my home, and numerous other jobs. Total cost? About $300. Yeah, some things are good. I let him know that I’ll be needing him in a couple of weeks to install a fan, get two electrical outlets working, repair/replace a light fixture and install a new bathroom medicine cabinet/mirror. He suggested that I go ahead and get a nice one, we can cut a hole in the wall and place it. Total he’ll be charging me? About $100. What a steal of a deal! In addition to being a very reasonable price and certified, he also does a nice job. This is not simply a case of getting what you pay for. 

After he left, I ran to the local Grange Co-Op and purchased grass seed and mulch. I had sprayed the front yard with weed killer. As it turned out, the whole yard was mostly weeds and promptly died. LOL I then rushed home, raked the yard with the help of my daughter, spread the seed, spread the mulch, ran back to the store to get some more mulch, and finished the job. Now, the thunder is rolling in and the fresh seed should get some nice water. I can’t wait for it to start growing. I was hoping to have a sprinkler system installed, till the yard and then plant, but that simply won’t be happening this year, so I’ll be happy to have some decent looking grass. 

It’s 8:00, my daughter is making me a mocha, the kids are getting along, life is pretty good tonight. I need more nights like this one. I think they’re on the way!

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We began by talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and how it appeared as if he knew he was going to die on the day that he actually did. We had an in-depth conversation about slavery, Washington DC, and President Lincoln. We talked about President Washington and even Obama. We talked about death and how it is ultimately inevitable that we all die. 

Somewhere in the midst of our deep conversation, my daughter paused to state, “You know, we don’t have your normal dinner conversations. We don’t talk about ‘how was your day’ and ‘did you stay out of trouble?’ We talk about this deep, random stuff.”

I’d never thought about it before, but she’s right. We aren’t your typical family by many standards. We don’t tend to piddle in the small talk which is somewhat ironic because I consider myself very involved in my children’s lives and my teen daughter is pretty open with me.

I have my children 24/7, for better or worst and as such we really are a close family. A typical day consists of the three of us sharing our one bathroom to get ready for school and work. All three of us then pile into the car and head off to begin our day. My son attends my school and spends the morning in my classroom with me until the bell rings and he leaves to begin his day. My daughter catches the bus at my school and takes it to her school. 

During the day, my daughter and I will text each other messages during recesses and lunch. I usually check in with her to see how her day is going. She often asks me to bring her a coffee knowing full well that not only is it not possible, but I wouldn’t anyways. We have segmented conversations in which I get a glimpse as to how things are going for her.

Having spent roughly half an hour with me before school, my son and I generally see each other once again at lunch time. Although he pretends horror at my appearance, I have been told on good authority that his face actually lights up when he sees me and that what we have is a little game. We have finally agreed that I will not kiss him and in exchange he will give me a side hug. At 8 years old and in second grade, he is too embarrassed to be seen with his mother. 🙂

After school, my son and I spend another approximately two hours together before we pick up sister. During this time, he and I have had our small talk. Once I pick up sister/daughter, she and I have some more small talk as we drive home. Once home (or out to eat), the dinner conversation begins. We have great conversations. I love how deep our conversations go, how anything is fair game, how both my 15 year old and my 8 year old are comfortable and capable in having these conversations. 

Life is good.

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Tonight the new neighbors were outside yelling their heads off. He likes the f word an awful lot. They were yelling about “shit” and which of it is hers and which of it is his. It ended when she said that she was going to go and get hers and get out of there. He, of course, agreed. 

Eventually, the voices were back outside. They have like 6 kids. The youngest is a newborn, the oldest, I’m guessing, is middle school. When they came back, it sounded like they were all outside. This was at about 10:15 p.m. I can’t help but feel sorry for those kids. They should have been in bed, instead they were able to be a part of a major family drama. At least it was only words and nothing physical, at least not that I could tell and I’m pretty good at recognizing when there is physical abuse. 

They are all back inside now and no one left. I’m really confused, though. They all came outside as if someone was leaving, but no one did. What were they doing outside? Why did the whole family come out? They weren’t all out earlier. 

Whatever the reasons, I’m proud to live in such a classy neighborhood. I’m also happy that my window happened to have been open this evening so that I could be a nosy neighbor – although is it really nosy when I can’t help but hear?  I’m so happy I’m not in one of those ugly relationships. Sorry, neighbors, but I’m happy that I’m not you. Have fun with your million children crammed into that home and your fights and whatever else it is that you do. Yep, you have fun over there.

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She likes to think that she is a hunter, but he knows the truth. He silently watches as her body hunkers down, the tall grass engulfing her. She has set her site upon some fluttering creature. Her muscles are taught, her body ready to spring into action. She is silent as her back end begins to wriggle, the tell-tale sign of an upcoming attack. 

Her rotund, orange body and green eyes belie the tigress that she thinks she is. Suddenly, a breeze stirs the stillness and she jumps, not into action, but rather as a startled house cat. She carefully saunters to the protection of her owner who giggles and lifts her into his arms. Being a typical eight year old boy, he does not offer her the safekeeping which she seeks. Instead, he promptly places her back into the tall grass hoping to watch her actions once again. 

This time she is not startled by the breeze, nor is she able to find new prey. Instead, she stealthily moves through the grass, watching and waiting for new opportunities to reveal themselves. Before long, her escapades have led her out of the tall grass and into the freshly mowed lawn. Of course her eight year old owner will have none of this and promptly scoops her up, placing her back into the tall grass. 

Her time of hunting appears to be over, at least for now. She has resigned to being the spectator rather than the surveyed. She now watches her owner. She waits in anticipation for his move while he, in turn, waits for hers. It has become a cat and mouse type of game. She is good at simply waiting, he is not. He tires and moves on to another activity. She meanders away unnoticed.

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It was a good day. I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from today, but perhaps that is why it turned out to be a good one. There are actually many reasons why I wasn’t expecting much, but primarily because my birthday came and went with barely and utterance from my children. Throw on top of that the fact that I have been pretty sick the last few days and realistically, I didn’t expect to be up and about, let alone feeling appreciated. 

Today was the first day that I was able to eat and as such, my daughter ended up BBQing a steak dinner complete with chocolate cake for dessert. Prior to that, the kids and I spent time planting tomatoes and various plants. We got the computer up and running after a hiatus from which I needed to reformat it which, of course, means re-installing everything as well. 

I heard from friends that I haven’t heard from in quite some time wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. One friend and I reconnected and it simply felt wonderful. Seems we have both been going through similar stuff in this big bad world. 

My children actually fought very little as far as sibling rivalry goes. There was definitely more positive interaction than negative which is always a plus. 

All in all, it was simply a good day.

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